Let's help innocent victims of war

Torbay Weekly

Torbay is  being asked to rally and support the hundreds of thousands of people being forced to flee war-torn Ukraine.

An appeal has been set up and is being spearheaded by Torquay businessman and jeweller David Rowe.

It is also being led by Paulina Wieczorek, the manager of his Pandora shop in town. She comes from Poland where many of the Ukranians have fled to seek a safe sanctuary after Vladmir Putin's Russian troops invaded the country.

Pauline says: "Poland and Ukraine share more than just borders. We both know how devastating actions of one man can be, it’s etched in our nation’s DNA. So this feels somewhat personal."

The seafront of Torquay has been illuminated yellow and blue to show support for the people of Ukraine.

Torbay Council deputy leader Darren Cowell said: "In a mark of support for Ukraine, the seafront lights have been programmed to be blue and yellow. A small gesture of solidarity as we witness the terrible scenes from Ukraine."

He said credit for the idea has to go to Cllr Cordelia Law and he thanked officers who responded so quickly.

He added: ""It is beyond most people's comprehension that we are watching such aggression, revisionism and blatant warmongering unfold before our eyes in 21st Century Europe. My grandfather was from Poland and was just in his mid-teens when Germany invaded in 1939. This is a story that is all the more heart-breaking as it feels like it has unfolded before. Changing our lights in support of Ukraine seems such a small thing, but we hope they shine a light of hope for the safety of all and a swift end to this madness."

David Rowe, who has run his jewellers in Union Street for 50 years, is also a leading member of the Tormohun Rotary Club.

He says: "This was my idea originally but this is most certainly under the Rotary banner. The public trust the Rotary brand in these times especially.

"Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland are rolling out requests for donations for Shelter Box, donations are also very welcome to the Rotary Club of Tormohun.

“My late wife, Regina, who was German, often said that Russia  was a brewing Volcano, not to be trusted and the pipe line for gas was a big mistake from day one.

"This is such a desperate situation created by one mad man."

He added: "Many families are leaving Ukraine by the thousands and entering  into Poland. They only have what they carry. Paulina is contacting Polish authorities to get first-hand account of the urgent wants."

Paulina said: "It’s overwhelming to see how Poland and its citizens welcomes fleeing Ukrainian families into their homes.
"That being said, there are hundreds of thousands of families mainly women with children who cross the border. The needs are basic, blankets, warm clothes, underwear, towels, first aid kits, sleeping bags, toiletries, sanitary pads, nappies.
"Lists of what’s needed in different voivodeships can be found on their respective websites. It goes without saying that all of those items must be in an unused, new or like new condition.
"Some voivodeships are are organising donations of food (long term dry and canned) and medicine to be sent to Ukraine to support citizens who stayed behind."

Basic, clean items in a good condition in the first instance are required including blankets, hats, gloves, sleeping bags, towels, nappies, first-aid boxes, tooth brushes, tooth paste and, for the children, colouring books, pencils and crayons.

Collection points are Conroy Couch Jewellers and Pandora Torquay and Devon Garden Machinery at Kingskerswell.

David says: "I have no doubt Torquay and Torbay can rise to this challenge to help, under the Rotary banner."